How to Grow Catnip
A fluffy green plant with heart-shaped leaves and scalloped edges native to the eurasian continents but now grown worldwide, catnip (nepeta cataria) is in great demand for cat parents who want to please their kitties. As the plant is part of the mint (lamiaceae) family, its related to other savory herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, and basil.
Catnip leaves and stems contain a fragrant oil responsible for getting cats ‘high’.
Your biggest hurdle to growing catnip indoors might not be low light levels, cold air, or lack of consistent watering. It might be your cat. Catnip , a perennial favorite of all things feline, is a relative of the mint and lemon balm, which means it’s not a hard plant to grow indoors.
outdoors, it’s known to spread easily, growing into jumbled patches that attract cats from miles around. Indoors, it can be successfully grown on a sunny windowsill, providing you give it enough water and remember to pinch out the flowers to encourage leaf growth. You can start pinching off leaves as soon as the plant hits about 6 to 8 inches in height; your cat will appreciate it.
Kittens don’t typically respond to catnip until reaching the age of 3 to 6 months. Before that, kittens will generally ignore it and maybe even go out of their way to get away from the strong odor. As your kitten ages, offer her a tiny pinch from time to time. Eventually, she will either show signs of interest or grow into a cat who doesn’t care much for it. Kittens and senior cats don’t typically react to catnip.
How To Grow Catnip or Catmint
Growing a meowdow of catnip for your kitty is pretty simple.
when choosing what to plant for your cat, be sure you select seeds or plants of the right nepeta. Garden & happy explains, catnip Nepeta cataria usually refers to the herb, whereas catmint nepeta mussinii is more ornamental and less attractive to cats.
In the springtime, plant seeds or plant starts in a sunny location after all danger of frost has passed. And be warned, catnip plants can spread easily.
Standing up to 3 or 4 feet tall, the plant takes up some room, so be sure you place seeds and starts around two feet apart when planting.
Catnip and catmint are the common names for nepeta cataria, a hardy perennial herb of the mint family, with pungent fragrance which is highly attractive and exciting to cats. Catnip grows to a height of three or four feet, and features downy, light green foliage with small lavender flowers that grow on spikes up to five inches long. Catnips grow well in almost any soil, but does best in a moderately rich loam that is well-draining. It’s aroma increases when grown in sandy soil or via the hydroponic method. It will grow acceptably in either sun or shade.
Catnip has more than one common name it is also known as catmint. In latin, it has only one name, the one linnaeus gave it: nepeta cataria l. Note the root cat in the epithet, from the latin catus,which in turn comes from the latin name for a domestic cat, felis caruso. Linnaeus was an educated man in french, it is known as “herbe-aux-chats” or “herbe-à-chat,” meaning catweed, among other names. It belongs to the mint family, the lamiaceae or labiatae. It has attractive greyish-green leaves opposite one another on a four-sided stem, typical of the family. When you rub its leaves, the volatile oil releases a characteristic fragrance. The spikes of small white, red-spotted flowers emerge around july.
Growing the Herb Catnip
Like kittens, senior cats don’t care about catnip so much, growing immune to the euphoric effects of nepetalactone as they age. So don’t worry if your old man tabby doesn’t like to get silly with the herb anymore.
Catnip propagates easily from both leaf-tip cuttings and seeds. To take a cutting, simply remove a small piece of new growth early in the growing season and pot it up a new pot of sterile potting soil. give it plenty of moisture and filtered light until new growth emerges. Catnip is also a common herb sold in garden centers, so you can always buy new seedlings and put them in larger pots until it’s time to discard the plant.
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i have a good sized patch of catnip growing in my garden that’s threatening to overtake one of my pepper plants. So i decided that it was time to dry some catnip for tea. Catnip nepeta cataria is a member of the mint family and is apparently quite entrancing to cats. I don’t have cats so i can’t speak to that. Catnip acts as a sedative in human and is thought to calm the stomach and the nerves source. I drink it in the afternoon or evening, as a caffeine free alternative to green tea. It does have it’s own flavor, and is similar to mint. When i make my tea i like to mix catnip with a little bit of dried stevia for sweetness.
Time From Seed to Saleable Plant
Do you worry a lot about where your cat’s food came from? if sourcing is important to you, then growing your own catnip is an obvious choice. A lot of commercially available catnip is grown organically, meaning it was grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Sometimes that isn’t enough you’d rather know exactly how your catnip was grown from seed to plant. If you grow your own catnip, you’ll know exactly how it was grown and won’t have to worry.
Catnip can be planted in your garden in spring or fall, from seed or plants. It will sprout in two to three weeks if started from seed. Catnip grows best in full sun combined with average, well-drained soil and regular watering. Cutting the plants completely down after the first bloom set will allow enough time for it to completely regrow and bloom again. Some species of nepeta are considered invasive plants. They will spread out of control unless you take measures to keep them from doing so. To contain and shape catnip plants, pinch them often while they are growing to obtain dense, well-shaped plants. The plants will also reseed all over your property if you let them and you will have new plants springing up in unexpected places for years to come.
Once your catnip is established, water it whenever the soil is almost dry. Give it a complete soaking each time you do so. Pick off deadhead flowers to encourage continued growth. It’s a good idea to remove flowers to prevent the buds from going to seed, too. If not controlled, catnip can quickly spread and begin to take over the garden. Transplanting your catnip and sharing with friends is another great way to keep your catnip fresh and strong. Each year, trim spent stems to make room for the new growth in the spring. Catnip doesn’t have much of a problem with pests and disease. Your cat may be one of the greatest dangers to your catnip plants! cats can damage plants by rolling around in the catnip patch or chewing the plant.
Potential Plant Pests and Diseases
Catnip has a tendency to be susceptible to whiteflies and spider mites, but cases of infestation are rare, and there are no other common pest issues or diseases involving catnip. The main bugs that catnip is known to attract to your garden area are insects that benefit your garden , such as bees and butterflies, which will help to pollinate your plants, as well as predatory insects that will make a meal of any other pests in the vicinity.
Pests: catnip rarely suffers from insect pests, but cats may nibble its leaves and can crush young plants. A spray of catnip and water will deter colorado potato beetles. Diseases: catnip can be attacked by fungal diseases including anthracnose and rust. Avoid overhead watering; space plants so that there is plenty of air circulation. Catnip can suffer root rot in wet soil; let the soil dry out between waterings.
How to grow Catnip The complete guide
Catnip grows best in full sun combined with average, well drained soil. It grows well in hydroponics as well. It is a perennial herb of the mint family that will grow from 3-5 feet tall. Water them regularly. Cut out last years spent stems in early spring, which creates room for new ones. Cutting the plants completely down after the first bloom set will allow enough time for the plant to completely regrow and bloom again.
Start harvesting catnip anytime, once it’s established and above 6 inches tall. Earlier, when the plant is young, harvest the tips, picking only a couple of top sets of leaves above the leaf node to encourage bushier growth. Snip off individual leaves as you need. As the top leaves are always young and tender, be extra careful while snipping them. Use a scissor for a clean and easy cut. Harvest the entire plant when it’s fading, completely with its flower stalk. Leave about 3 inches of growth, if you want it to grow back again.
How to grow in containers
If you choose to grow it outside, you may want to cover the base of the plant with something to keep your cat from rolling on the plant and killing it. Bonnie plants suggests , “to keep plants from being loved to death, cover each with an arch of chicken wire. The stems can grow up through the holes, yet the plant’s base and roots are protected. ”“t”eresa/flickr
as a perennial, the plant can continue to grow outside in warm temps. Freezing weather will kill the plant. If planting indoors, plants can be grown year-round in tip-proof containers, removing the worry of a wintry death for your plant.
As a member of the mint family, catnip is also known for its aggressive growth and ability to quickly take over a garden or growing space. Growing it in containers is a great way to keep this aggressive growth under control. Plants can either be started from seed or from stem cuttings taken off another plant.
Bundle stalks together and place them upside down in clean paper bags. Hang the bags in a dark, dry place until the plants inside have dried out completely. Depending on the temperature of the drying area, the process can take a couple of weeks to a month. Once dry, break the leaves and flowers into small bits, discarding stems as you go. Store in air-tight containers in the freezer for maximum freshness. Your cat will thank you for the home-grown treat!.
Basic plant care for catnip
If you have an established plant from a friend or started a catnip plant indoors, eventually you’ll have to transplant the catnip into a large pot or into the ground. It’s important to take care to ensure a successful transplant. Water the catnip plant thoroughly a day before transplanting, then turn over the soil in the catnips new home. Turn up the soil about eight inches deep and three to four inches around the width of the plant. Dig a hole the size of the catnip’s root ball in the desired planting location, then gently place the catnip plant into the hole. Backfill and tamp down the soil around the plant’s rootball. Water the transplanted catnip well, and continue to keep the soil slightly moist until you observe new growth.
Catnip is a perennial that generally grows to 2 to 3 feet when planted outdoors. Indoors, providing you give it enough light and water, it’s conceivable you’ll get a 2-foot plant, but in reality, indoor catnip doesn’t have the potency of outdoor catnip and it seems more reasonable to grow plants for a single growing season, then replace them either through sowing new seeds or cuttings. If you do want to repot a smaller catnip, go up one pot size and use fresh soil, being careful not to damage the roots.
Catnip is not an especially difficult plant to grow indoors. It thrives on sunny ledges, with ample and regular water, and good drainage. If your plant goes into flower, snip off the flower buds to encourage stronger and better leaf growth. Indoor catnip will not have the same potency as outdoor catnip, but your cats will still like it plenty. Be careful not to mist your plant too much to discourage mold growth. Catnip is vulnerable to pests including aphids , mealybugs , scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat it with the least toxic option.
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Set out plants in the spring after the last frost, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart. For best results when planting in the ground, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of miracle-gro® garden soil for vegetables & herbs before planting. When growing catnip in containers, fill pots with premium quality potting mix, such as miracle-gro® potting mix. Keep plants full by pinching the growing stems and flower buds when they appear. The small white flowers that appear in the summer will form seeds that sprout; the plant also spreads via underground runners. Some cats are very rough on plants. To keep plants from being loved to death, cover each with an arch of chicken wire.
A to Z of Growing Catnip Indoors | Catnip Plant Care
When you are growing catnip indoors, you don’t have to worry much about catnip plant care in cold weather. Keep it in a warm spot in the night. During the day, move it back on a window that receives some direct sunlight. Always make sure that the plant is not touching the windowpane to avoid cold injury. Also, reduce watering and don’t fertilize in winter. Additionally, you can mulch the topsoil with straws or shredded cardboard. If you’re exposing it to outdoor conditions, cover the pot by bubble wrap or plastic sheet for extra protection. Making a mini indoor greenhouse for catnip and other herbs is also a great way to keep these plants growing. We’ve some diys here !.
It grew, it flowered. It thrives on sunny ledges, with ample and regular water, and good drainage. Proper transplanting keeps your catnip from becoming root-bound. Once while many people report that they like the fragrant, herbal smell of catnip, some people find that it has a vaguely skunky odor to it that is off-putting. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time i comment. Lux for plants: everything you need to know! place young plants away from kitty until they are large enough to withstand some serious loving. Catnip is a plant—known scientifically as nepeta cataria that is a member of the mint family. Catnip seeds are very small and so are difficult to handle.
Growing Catnip Indoors is possible, and with the help of these catnip plant care tips, you can grow it year-round in your home.
Catnip seeds should be sown during the spring after any threat of frost has passed. Consult a hardiness zone map to figure out when it’s safe to plant in your area. If you have a short growing season, catnip can also be started indoors 4to8 weeks before the last frost and transferred outside after the soil is warm enough. Catnip seeds are tough and should be stratified, or slightly damaged, before planting to ensure the seeds sprout. An easy way to do this is by freezing the seeds overnight and then soaking them for 24 hours.
Once you’ve chosen a place to grow your catnip and stratified the seeds, sow the little seeds in rows and cover them lightly with approximately 1/4 inch of soil. Keep the seeds moist and the soil temperature at around 70 degrees. When the plants are five inches tall, thin them out so that they’re all about 12-18 inches apart. If you’re growing the catnip indoors in small cells, transfer them into 3to4 inch pots at this time so that they have enough room to develop a strong root system before transplanting into a large pot or into the garden.